Saturday, March 26, 2022

Moving On

As an individual that builds deep relationships with people and walks through deep waters with them, it is tempting to think change and growth is a result of my efforts. 

That happened to Moses and the people of Israel. Their freedom, exodus, and survival were all tied in with Moses' life and efforts. He was used in personal, mighty, and incredible ways those 40 years. But he also made mistakes. 

Moses' most costly sin was to strike the rock when God commanded him to speak to it. Why would that make a difference? God sent the water. The people were cared for. But in that moment what the people saw was Moses strike the rock. And water was provided. If Moses had spoken to the rock, there would have been no evidence of Moses efforts--only God's provision. And that is how it must be with us. God is not glorified by my efforts. His glory does not change regardless of what I do or do not do. But how others see Him, how others interact with Him, can be clouded or misguided when/if I deceive others, giving the impression that I am the source of blessing, not God Himself.

It is so easy to do! Numbers 12:3 says, Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any person who was on the face of the earth.

At the end of their journey, we see Moses repentance. And he said to them, “I am 120 years old today; I am no longer able to go out and come in, and the Lord has told me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’ 3 It is the Lord your God who is going to cross ahead of you; He Himself will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua is the one who is going to cross ahead of you, just as the Lord has spoken. 4 And the Lord will do to them just as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when He destroyed them. 5 The Lord will turn them over to you, and you will do to them in accordance with all the commandments which I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or in dread of them, for the Lord your God is the One who is going with you. He will not desert you or abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:2-5)

As he prepares to leave Israel, he reminds them of God's faithfulness, God's promises, and God's provision. He will not, cannot, continue. But he is not their safety. He is not the one who makes water come from the rock. He is not the one who sees and provides for their needs. God is. And God will continue His good work without Moses.

In the same way, I must be reminded that all good things come from the hand of God--including the good things that result from my involvement. As people move out of my sphere of influence, they never leave God's...and neither do I. I need Him every hour. every moment, day after day. He will not fail.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Light

Perhaps I'm the only one who gets irritated with conflict, angry when there is a lack of justice and righteousness, overcome with uncontrollable outcomes of evil? 

Our world continues to experience global, national, and personal conflict, giving rise to anxiety, depression, anger, sleepless nights, heated discussions. But I must remind myself this is normal. This is our world. Sin does that--it works death in relationships, countries, nations. 

The remedy--the only remedy--is Light. Light does not hammer darkness. It cannot be squelched or captured. Light dispels darkness. Light is. By its nature, light exposes and overcomes darkness.

Jesus is the Light of the world. He has given us Truth to dispel rumors, evil, wickedness, and danger. But I cannot drag others into the light. I cannot force them to open their eyes, nor can I make them see what they refuse to acknowledge. I can only live in the light and welcome those who wish to join me there. 

My greatest struggle, then, is not the darkness of others; it is the darkness in my own heart. The sin that crouches at the door of my heart, ready to engage in battle; ready to kill, steal, and destroy. My only hope is the full armor of God. I have no ability to withstand my own sinful self. I have no desire to turn away from being god in my life and others. I have no hope of turning aside from personal autonomy in and of myself. I, myself, must surrender to the holy, righteous, convicting work of the Spirit and open the door to my heart, welcoming the exposure of thought, motive, and deed, resting in His grace. Confident in mercy. 

And as His gentle, cleansing hand cleanses my heart and life, I can stand in His armor, ready to stand against evil--not charging in--but standing, armed with truth, righteousness, salvation, peace, and the Word of God. Arrayed with light. Dispelling darkness. Loving in the midst of the greatest battle ever fought, dependent in prayer. Trusting my Commander in Chief. Minding my own business and leading a quiet life. Failing. Falling. And standing. Every. Time. Because of God's faithfulness.

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,  and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)